British superyacht manufacturing is booming

Italy and Netherlands remain the top countries in the thriving superyacht manufacturing industry. However, Britain's superyacht industry is growing fast.

The Solarwave 62' solar powered boat by Nedship - image courtesy of Nedship
Britain has the third highest number of superyachts in the world that are either under construction or about to be constructed – image courtesy of Nedship.

Britain has the third largest number of superyachts that are either under construction or due to be constructed, according to a major luxury lifestyle publishing company.

Boat International Media, whose Global Order Book measures the number of yachts over 24 metres in length being manufactured by country, says Britain has climbed two places in the world rankings. It accounts for 109 of the 830 superyachts on order. Only Italy and the Netherlands rank higher than Britain

Plymouth-based Princess Yachts was also ranked the fourth biggest superyacht manufacturer in the world by total length of vessels under construction. Business at the Devon company is expanding with some of its new models being sold out as far out as 2020.

Stewart Campbell, editor of Boat International, told The Manufacturer that Britain has a great tradition of yacht manufacturing with a strong skills base and with recent sales being boosted by a weaker pound.

He said this history “sadly goes unnoticed by most people. Princess Yachts and Sunseeker are massive employers in Plymouth and Poole respectively and they’re constantly innovating their product ranges – a fundamental to success in this business.”

“The skills are here, the pedigree is here – all these yards are known for the quality of their output – and the history is here. The relative weakness of the pound against other major currencies has helped, too, obviously – the vast majority of these yards’ output is sold overseas – but first and foremost it’s those factors mentioned above that have helped Britain climb the superyacht rankings.”

He says that barring any major economic disturbance that could possibly be caused by Brexit, he does expect British superyacht manufacturing to continue its success due to their capability for innovation:
“Refreshing your range is a massive component of success in yacht building and it’s something our homegrown yards excel at, especially recently. Sunseeker, for instance, has just announced a move into metal superyacht construction for the first time and Princess has seen great success with its newly announced models.”
According to Boat International’s Global Order Book, the top three companies for superyacht construction are all Italian. Fourth-placed Princess Yachts usually builds smaller production and semi-custom yachts than its other major rivals. But its Y85 and X95 models are extremely successful while its new semi-custom models are a major market trend.

Reporting by Harry Wise